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Bridges of the World # 6

by lynjo (follow)
Bridge (9)      History (6)      Sydney (1)     

Sydney Harbour Bridge at sunset

Another iconic image that simply has to be included in bridges of the world. It's of course the coat hanger itself, Sydney Harbor Bridge. Again the bridge comes with its own history as well as its ongoing journey as a major Australian landmark, particularly renowned for its backdrop for New Year's Eve firework celebrations.

Plans to build a bridge to join Sydney's Central Business District with its North Shore began way back in 1815. Convict and noted architect Francis Greenway apparently put forward a proposal to Governor Lachlan Macquarie that a bridge be built from the northern to the southern shore of the harbour. In 1825, he wrote a letter to the then "The Australian" newspaper stating that such a bridge would "give an idea of strength and magnificence that would reflect credit and glory on the colony and the Mother Country".

Although Greenway's proposal was not accepted the idea of a bridge remained of interest and many proposals were developed and thwarted over the next 100 years. Promises were sometimes made and then reneged due to changes of government or priorities.

The official ceremony marking the "turning of the first sod" occurred on 28 July 1923, at Milsons Point on the north shore. An estimated 469 private homes and commercial buildings on the north shore were pulled down so that construction could proceed. Apparently little or no compensation was paid. Work on the bridge finally commenced and by September, 1926 concrete piers to support the approach spans were in place on each side of the harbor. Construction of the arch didn't begin until 1928 and the it took until 15th January, 1932 for the last stone to be set. Testing by the first steam train to cross the bridge successfully took place on the 19th January, 1932.

The bridge was officially opened not log after on the 19th March, 1932. The opening is particularly memorable in Australian history because just as the Premier was about to cut the ribbon a man in a military uniform on a horse came through and cut it first with his sword. The man was arrested, the ribbon re-tied and the official ceremony began. Another story of Australian larrakinism to share with generations to come.

# Bridge
# Sydney
# History

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